A former teacher who taught in the B.C. Peace region has been suspended for four weeks by the Commissioner for Teacher Regulation for racist comments toward his colleagues and aggressive behaviour toward students.
Commissioner Howard L. Kushner ruled Jan. 12 that Brent Alexander Daniel "failed to model appropriate behaviour expected of an educator" and "jeopardized the physical and emotional safety of students” during a number of incidents at both public and independent schools in the province in 2021 and 2022.
The troubling behaviour began in the Peace River South school district in April 2021 when Daniel grabbed a Grade 8 student who threw a “soft bouncy ball” at his head during gym class at an unnamed school, according to the decision.
The decision says Daniel chased after the student and caused him to fall to the ground, giving the student a red mark and elbow pain.
Despite the student feeling “scared and sad,” Daniel had raised his voice at the student and claimed the student “was not hurt and… just milking it,” according to the decision.
Daniel was suspended for 10 days and transferred to a different school after the incident, and was also required to take anger management classes.
Daniel was later employed at an unnamed independent school operated by a First Nation, where Kushner's decision says he “omitted” his work experience at the South Peace school district on his resume.
In November 2022, the decision says Daniel made several racist comments toward his Black teaching colleagues.
In one instance, he stood between two teachers and asked, “What do you call this?” He answered, “an Oreo," according to the decision.
In another incident, Daniel disparaged a colleague who was walking by him while wearing a mask and said, “I’d better put away my valuables.” When his colleague questioned why, Daniel responded, “a black man wearing a mask,” the decision said.
Commissioner Kushner noted several other racist remarks and problematic behaviour from Daniel in his decision, including yelling at students, slamming classroom doors, and using obscenities. He was later put on three months probation by the independent school
Ultimately, Kushner said, “Daniel’s actions jeopardized the physical and emotional safety of students, particularly the students at the Independent School who were very young and who lived in a community which has an long experience of trauma from colonialism.”
“Daniel’s comments to his Black colleagues were inconsistent with the values, beliefs and knowledge of Canada’s democratic and inclusive society and damage the perception of the teaching profession,” Kushner said.
Along with the four week suspension, Daniel was ordered to complete a course called Creating a Positive Learning Environment through the Justice Institute of B.C.